I’m not saying I don’t want change. I will stand beside you and fight for that change, dammit. But I’m not going to wish away this time. I’m going to be grateful for it. Because this is it. This has to be enough.
But inevitably there comes a point where you’ve done everything you possibly can. A quiet. An eye of the storm, I suppose.
Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good. If you’re one of the generous souls that’s come out to see me in support of the book, you’ve heard my spiel about that being our mantra for creating the book…and the merits of applying that mantra to choosing the candidates you support, as well.
Was last night the blue wave so many of us worked so hard for? No. Things are particularly dire in the Senate with several heart-crushing losses. Texas, I saw how hard you all worked for Beto. I know it must seem so dark there this morning. And of course, we must mourn that. Please don’t think that what I’m going to say next is in any way a negation of that sense of disappointment and loss.
But good things happened, too.
The House is blue again. That is not a small win, I promise you.
Come January, the steamroller of this administration will at least be stymied. The system of checks and balances will return.
Over 100 women were elected. Muslims. Native Americans. More LGBTQ folks are now in office. Felons in Florida can vote again. Important measures were passed on gerrymandering and redistributing. Big wins all over for gun sense candidates. And, goddammit, I am still crossing my fingers for Stacey Abrams. TIDES ARE CHANGING.
Yesterday was different. People showed up. In many states, the voter turnout was at 20-year highs. THAT is the takeaway to which I hope you can eventually come around, fellow patriots. The work you are doing matters.
I want to share with you part of a note I received last night. Because sometimes the Universe throws you a bone to motivate you to keep going.
“Friend, I know you are on book tour and overall living the f-ing dream right now. Still, I know you do what you do for a REASON. I am really struggling with something here on the ballot and after much research, thought and prayer (and apparently a loss of senses!)
I actually decided I couldn’t vote because what I want to do and think is right was also somehow conflicting with standards I’ve held at my core my entire life. I was watching results and watching the clock and thought of you and your work and the bad-ass women who came before us who fought to not be lumped in with their husbands and have their own voices be heard and counted.
My five-year-old daughter said she knows I follow politics and KNOWS I voted, but just in case, wanted to ask me if I voted. Girl, I zipped a hoodie up over a sports bra, threw on some Uggs and was the LAST person to vote at my polling place. Freedom ain’t free. I can only buy one of your books and cheer lead you from across the country, but wanted you to know YOUR VOICE helped me today. Love you, friend!”
So let’s bone, folks. Hmmm. Questionable word choice, El. Let’s try again…
Allow me to throw YOU a bone–we did good. Next time, we will do even better. We’re learning what works and what doesn’t. We’re piece by piece dismantling a system built on oppression and marginalization. That takes time. But IT IS HAPPENING.
As my dad wrote me this morning, “It is the changes we make in our daily life at the local level that propagate upward into the expression of a better gentler more just society. RESIST!”
Even where we lost, we were so damn close. And there were races run that have never been run before! That in itself is its own victory!
But please remember, had there been the blue wave/tsunami, still the work would not be done. Maybe this ebb will keep us focused and motivated to make sure we turn things around in 2020. Is that a shitty consolation prize when we dream of a perfect democracy of and for the people? YES. But are we going to take the wins when we get them? SHIT YEAH, WE ARE.
I’m proud as hell of the work we’re doing. We sent a loud, clear message last night. Rest up, patriots. We ride AGAIN at dawn.